I watched these Philly kids kick a music box up and down Cecil B. Moore Avenue. They were having fun, but the ballerina inside was destroyed. Philadelphia is a music box with a dead ballerina inside it. There’s laughter in it too. And fight. Do you ever go through a movie phase when you can't shake the entire artifice of it all and the movie seems like the most wasteful undertaking ever and you start to feel sorry for everyone involved? Have you ever gotten to the point where you can’t stand the fiction’s non-fiction? It’s like you can feel everyone off-screen is against you by executing it on-screen? But then the phase passes and you sink more and you sink enough and it’s daily again. The poems by Ryan Eckes, Natalie Lyalin, Jenn McCreary, Frank Sherlock, and Carlos Soto Roman are about resuscitating the dead ballerina in the music box. For all of us. And for them this phase never passes.
Thank you to Anselm Berrigan, the Brooklyn Rail, and the readers for welcoming Philadelphia into your neighborhood.
—John Ebersole, poetry editor
The Philadelphia Review of Books